Nordic cooperation – excitement, plot-twists and, ultimately, three cheers!

The story of the Nordic Balancing Model management project run jointly by the Nordic transmission system operators does not begin with Danish hygge or Swedish café culture, writes Maria Joki-Pesola, Program Lead of the Nordic Balancing Model program.

From the very outset, a good dose of Finnish sisu and perseverance is required as Sweden and Norway try to get each other in a headlock. However, despite the sorry start and differences that appeared wider than the Gulf of Bothnia, the group eventually succeed in pinning down their shared objectives and negotiating an agreement that will lay the foundation for fruitful collaboration.

Our joint program is known as the Nordic Balancing Model. The complex entity will bring us closer to the balancing markets for balancing power and reserves, and imbalance settlement of the future. We will need these elements as the power system becomes increasingly dependent on various weather conditions.

The milestones for the Nordic Balancing Model were placed on a timeline so that every milestone is considered in relation to the other necessary changes and the requirements imposed by European legislation. The implementation involves a diverse network of dependencies, which further increases the challenging nature of the program. Stakeholders have been asked to give their views on the phasing of the roadmap. The first changes to be implemented will be the go-live of the Nordic aFRR capacity market and the change to a single pricing model.

Collaboration on the Nordic Balancing Model is taking place in several levels between many parties. This story, like any compelling thriller, has a number of plot twists. However, these must be turned into mutual benefit and translated into every Nordic language, as Fingrid’s fundamental approach to the program has been to ensure clear, timely communication, transparency and stakeholder cooperation. A shared appreciation of the importance of these aspects has developed as the program has progressed.

However, it is not yet time to shout skål and sip the Akvavit. There is plenty to be done and discussions are ongoing, but the clean energy system is moving into view at the end of the tunnel. It is important for all of the parties involved in the program to keep the lights on in the Nordic region in the future.

This story will have a happy ending.

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